emo·​tion | \ i-ˈmō-shən How to pronounce emotion (audio) \

Definition of emotion

1a : a conscious mental reaction (such as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body
b : a state of feeling
c : the affective aspect of consciousness : feeling
2a : excitement
b obsolete : disturbance

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for emotion


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for emotion

feeling, emotion, affection, sentiment, passion mean a subjective response to a person, thing, or situation. feeling denotes any partly mental, partly physical response marked by pleasure, pain, attraction, or repulsion; it may suggest the mere existence of a response but imply nothing about the nature or intensity of it. the feelings that once moved me are gone emotion carries a strong implication of excitement or agitation but, like feeling, encompasses both positive and negative responses. the drama portrays the emotions of adolescence affection applies to feelings that are also inclinations or likings. a memoir of childhood filled with affection for her family sentiment often implies an emotion inspired by an idea. her feminist sentiments are well known passion suggests a very powerful or controlling emotion. revenge became his ruling passion

Examples of emotion in a Sentence

a display of raw emotion The defendant showed no emotion when the verdict was read. She was overcome with emotion at the news of her friend's death.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Father and daughter held an unprecedented combined Zoom call after the game, and no plexiglass partition between them could dampen the emotion of the moment. Tara Sullivan, BostonGlobe.com, "Even as one retires, the Magaritys keep their coaching tree growing strong," 30 Jan. 2021 Experience the emotion of happiness while also being moisturized. Seija Rankin, EW.com, "Read Charles Yu's first work of fiction since the National Book Award-winning Interior Chinatown," 5 Jan. 2021 Eileen DeSandre held an audience rapt for 90 minutes as the cadence of her words expertly matched the emotion of her reminiscences. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "Orlando Theater Best of 2020: Critic’s Picks," 23 Dec. 2020 But something important got lost in all the emotion of the moment and the hours that followed. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Whatever Detroit Lions do with their coach, they must avoid another Rod Marinelli," 17 Nov. 2020 At times during the interview, Hankison sounds overcome by emotion describing when Sgt. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "Fired police officer thought his colleagues were being 'executed' during Breonna Taylor raid, grand jury recordings show," 3 Oct. 2020 Mike Bell laughed when someone prefaced a question by saying the Reds' fans get on David Bell about not showing emotion. John Fay, The Enquirer, "Bell family member clear about allegiance when brothers meet in Reds-Twins game," 25 Sep. 2020 Wells and Coffin took turns, sometimes overcome by emotion, reading from Bouffioux’s obituary. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "COVID-19 killed an Anchorage woman in her 40s without warning. Her family has a message: ‘It’s here, and it’s deadly.’," 18 Sep. 2020 After deliberating only 25 minutes, the jury acquitted Corbett, who showed no emotion when the verdict was announced. Curt Brown, Star Tribune, "Game warden shot fisherman, walked in 1900 murder case," 12 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'emotion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of emotion

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

History and Etymology for emotion

Middle French, from emouvoir to stir up, from Old French esmovoir, from Latin emovēre to remove, displace, from e- + movēre to move

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about emotion

Time Traveler for emotion

Time Traveler

The first known use of emotion was in 1579

See more words from the same year

Statistics for emotion

Last Updated

20 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Emotion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emotion. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for emotion



English Language Learners Definition of emotion

: a strong feeling (such as love, anger, joy, hate, or fear)


emo·​tion | \ i-ˈmō-shən How to pronounce emotion (audio) \

Kids Definition of emotion

: strong feeling (as anger, love, joy, or fear) often accompanied by a physical reaction She flushed with emotion.


emo·​tion | \ i-ˈmō-shən How to pronounce emotion (audio) \

Medical Definition of emotion

1 : the affective aspect of consciousness
2 : a state of feeling
3 : a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body — compare affect

Other Words from emotion

emotional \ -​shnəl, -​shən-​ᵊl How to pronounce emotion (audio) \ adjective
emotionality \ -​ˌmō-​shə-​ˈnal-​ət-​ē How to pronounce emotion (audio) \ noun, plural emotionalities
emotionally \ -​ˈmō-​shnə-​lē, -​shən-​ᵊl-​ē How to pronounce emotion (audio) \ adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on emotion

What made you want to look up emotion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!